Fixing John Salmons

John Salmons returns to the bench tonight. As we're all well aware, he's been much better in the starting lineup than off the bench. How much better, and how has he been better? Here is the breakdown, with help from Hoopsstats.com.

                |---------------per 40 min---------------|
          Min   FGA   FTA   Shots   Pts    FG%/3P%  Ast  TO
Starter    38    14   4.5    16.0    19  .517/.439    4   3
Bench      27     9   5.8    11.5    14  .491/.143    3   2

It's two things, which really boils down to one thing: When he comes off the bench, he isn't taking nearly as big a role in the offense, and he's not hitting his threes. I'd argue he isn't hitting his threes because he isn't getting into an offensive flow.

Advice for John: Be aggressive. 11.5 shots (.44 x FTAs + FGAs) per 40 minutes is far, far, far too low. Depending on which starters stay on the court when Salmons comes in, he should perhaps take a larger role from the bench than from the starting lineup. If it's Beno Udrih and Francisco Garcia in the backcourt with Salmons, he should be Option #1. Perhaps the recent stretch with a mishmosh of starters here and there and roles left undefined contributed to John's poor play. If there's some semblance of a real second unit with only a frontcourt starter and maybe one backcourt starter left in with Salmons' crew, he needs to be assertive.

Advice for Reggie Theus: Loooong stints for John. It's clear he plays better when he's getting long stints; his per-minutes and shooting percentages are higher in his 17 games he plays more than 40 minutes compared to his 20-30 min or 30-40 min games. He's not a microwave. (Interestingly, Garcia is and should be used as such.) If John's going to play 30 minutes, it seems to be more beneficial to play him two long stints (including the fourth quarter, which Theus seems to be a fan of in lieu of Mikki Moore).

Advice for the rest of the Kings: Get this man involved. Find him open on the wing. There should be about 6 "leaders" on this team; someone take the reins and prop up the fallen spirit. He can take you there.

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